As the former Global Managing Director for Climate, Dr. Elizabeth Gray led The Nature Conservancy’s extensive global work to build a low carbon future and amplify natural climate solutions for emissions reduction and adaptation. During her 20-year tenure with TNC, Elizabeth had been a champion of tackling climate change.
Elizabeth has a wide-ranging history of global climate change leadership, including chairing the Adaptation Workgroup of the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group; collaborating with partners in Tanzania to help vulnerable communities plan for and adapt to climate impacts; leading the Pacific Northwest Climate Vulnerability Study that bridged five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces; serving as a global spokesperson for the Conservancy’s climate change work at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa; and significant time as a well-published, scientific researcher on the ground in climate-impacted areas such as Indonesia, Argentina, Peru, and Costa Rica.
In her previous role, as a member of the North America leadership team, she sponsored development of North America’s Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) program and served as committee chair for the region’s Climate Adaptation program. As Mid-Atlantic/Central Appalachians Division Director, she empowered and supported our great leaders and staff to achieve conservation results from acquisition of the Cumberland Forest Fund land protection and carbon sequestration project; to the Conservancy’s first Disaster Recovery Academy; to a “Nature and Economy” program focused on shifting from an extractive to a renewable economy.
Elizabeth has held a number of Conservancy roles nationwide and globally, including Washington Director of Science, Pacific North America Science and Conservation Director, Global Climate Change Fellow, and Executive Director of Maryland/DC. During this time, Elizabeth’s leadership has been pivotal to a number of achievements, including establishing a center of scientific excellence which launched “Floodplains by Design” and the science underlying “Migrations in Motion”; completing the largest oyster restoration project in the world; raising brand awareness of the organization in two years by 52% ; and launching the Conservancy’s first urban conservation program in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth was an inaugural member of the global Gender Equity Advisory Council, which advised the CEO, President and COO/General Counsel on gender issues across the organization.
Elizabeth relocated her family back to the D.C. metro area after spending 25 years working in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Tanzania, Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. On the weekends you can find her out hiking with her family and rescue dogs, reading the latest bestseller or dreaming of her next adventure vacation.
Elizabeth was awarded a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Washington and an A.B. with highest honors in psychology from Harvard University. She is also a certified professional executive coach.